ITW Member Spotlight Monday

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Today’s ITW Member Spotlight is Carla Norton




(from the author website)


I’ve been such a nomad that I hesitate when people ask me where I’m from. Northern California is the short answer, with Redding my hometown, plus years spent in the San Francisco Bay Area, but the long answer includes New York, Tokyo, LA, Virginia, Seattle, and Florida. It’s hard to keep a library when you move so

I got my BA at Raymond College, a small, liberal arts college that was once (but is sadly no more) part of the University of the Pacific. I took journalism and writing classes, and then my career began in earnest in Tokyo.
I was working as an associate editor with the Japanese edition of Reader’s Digest when an incredible story hit headlines: A woman claimed she’d been held as a sex slave—most of the time in a box—for seven years. The story was so compelling that I returned to California and wedged myself between reporters and sketch artists to cover the kidnapper’s trial. I later wrote PERFECT VICTIM in collaboration with the prosecutor. To everyone’s surprise, it was put on the reading list for the FBI’s Behavioral Sciences Unit and became a #1 New York Times bestseller.

Maybe I have an abnormal interest in the nature of evil, because I next wrote about a Sacramento landlady who was arrested for murdering her tenants and planting them in her garden. I elbowed my way into the courtroom to cover Dorothea Puente’s nine-murder-count trial and wrote DISTURBED GROUND about her astonishing life and crimes.

Over the years, I published articles in newspapers and magazines. I worked with terrific people at the San Jose Mercury News, editing special sections. And I once edited the autobiography of a former Soviet Spy. But I needed help with writing fiction.

So, in 2007, I flew to Vermont to start a graduate program at Goddard College. The academic protocols were foreign and the schedule was intense, but I persisted and earned my Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing.

The next year, I started writing THE EDGE OF NORMAL. And this brings us full circle, because my first crime fiction is inspired by my first true crime. That story haunted me.

I had visited the scenes of the crime. I descended the steps into the concrete basement where the victim was held. I put on the heavy, insulated ‘head box” that closed tightly around her neck. Many gritty, bizarre details got under my skin. So it doesn’t take a psychologist to figure out that THE EDGE OF NORMAL, which features a 22-year-old survivor of kidnapping and captivity, is rooted in that reality.

The protagonist of my debut novel is scarred, flawed, and suffers from a hot sense of justice. I hope she captures your imagination.



The Edge Of Normal  |  Perfect Victim  |  Disturbed Ground


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